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Effective Police Homicide Investigations: Evidence From Seven Cities With High Clearance Rates

NCJ Number
Homicide Studies Volume: 20 Issue: 2 Dated: May 2016 Pages: 150-176
David L. Carter; Jeremy G. Carter
Date Published
May 2016
27 pages
Currently, the average homicide clearance rate in the United States is approximately 65 percent, down roughly 15 percent from the mid-1970s. This research seeks to inform how police can best improve homicide clearance rates by identifying best practices in homicide investigations.
To accomplish this goal, as part of a federally funded project, seven geographically representative law enforcement agencies were identified that had at least 24 homicides in 2011 and had a clearance rate of 80 percent or higher from which effective investigative practices could be gleaned. Qualitative findings indicate that a strong community policing presence, collaboration with external agencies, and an innovative culture facilitate high rates of homicide clearance. Implications for policy and future research are discussed. (Publisher abstract modified)